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Thread: Pig Jicking?

  1. #26
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Not sure how easy it is to tell in this video as the quality leaves a little to be desired, but I heard Theresa O'Grady asked recently (maybe during an interview segment with Enda Scahill for an American Banjo Museum program?) about whether she used DUDDUD for jig picking and she said that she uses DUDUDU. She's mainly known as a tenor banjo player but in this clip she's playing mandolin (a Jack Spira one if I recall correctly).




    Ultimately it doesn't matter what way you use as long as you can make it sound like a jig - I agree with ampyjoe that if someone isn't getting that jig feel in their playing and they also are using DUDUDU picking then switching to DUDDUD may facilitate them better getting the emphasis needed.

    I wouldn't think of advice to use DUDDUD as "trendy" - you tend to be influenced by who taught you or who's workshops you've attended. Many of the folks I've had lessons from advise DUDDUD when starting out so that's how I've always played. I've never found DUDDUD hard or difficult to use but clearly YMMV. In the tenor banjo world there are players like Theresa O'Grady and Kieran Hanrahan who use DUDUDU, and folks like Enda Scahill who advise either, stating that depending on which method you use you'll get a different feel to your jigs - in his first Irish Banjo Tutor he states that "Down Up Down Down UP Down will achieve a strong rhythmical effect; Down Up Down Up Down Up a more lyrical effect".

    While I agree that the addition of ornaments and variation add expression and are part and parcel of playing irish trad, it's the proper emphasis of those notes that makes a jig sound like a jig, a reel sound like a reel, a hornpipe sound like a hornpipe etc. etc - otherwise they're just a bunch of notes. I've heard plenty of examples of novice players playing a "jig", using triplets and trebles, but because they're playing it monotonously, with no accents, it doesn't sound like a jig. At a recent Brona Graham tenor banjo workshop she sent out recordings of the tunes learnt (a jig, reel and hornpipe) to the students - one version played without ornaments and one with the addition of them. The plain versions were not lacking in feel whatsoever and really showed how a great player can play a tune plainly and still with great feeling. Obviously the addition of ornaments really lifted the tunes, but if you can't play the tune plainly with feeling to begin with then no amount of ornaments is going make up for that.
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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Thanks for all this guys, this is really interesting. A question - do ornaments in Irish music on mandolin tend to be 'all picked' more than in say triplets in bluegrass? The reason I ask is that if hammers and pulloffs are common in whatever kind of music you're playing, then it might be easier (at least in theory) to keep your groups of 3 notes all starting on a down pick. If every note in a decoration is picked, more difficult?

    Also - it used to be that classically trained violinists tended to be 'downbow heavy', so many had a Pavlovian trained reaction to try to play a down bow whenever a strong emphasis was indicated. I did this at the age of 20 for those reasons, whatever kind of music I played. A lot later I started to swing and syncopate tunes more , and I found situations where up bow accents were unavoidable. About that time I got into listening to and watching viol music, and I saw violists using up bows for the stronger accents. Then I met people who could disconnect their left and right hands and accent whatever direction bow they wanted. Seems to me there's a direct parallel here with mandolin picking - if you learn to accent either direction stroke whenever you want, you don't have to worry about this issue. So, I find my up and down mandolin strokes can be equal volume or accents - but I suspect the sound I make on each is currently different. That's another topic...

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Personally my inclination is to advise learning both. The DUD DUD helps internalise the accent pattern and the alternate picked version will whip your upstroke accents into shape if you can get it to sound like DUD DUD. Then once you can do both play the one you like best as at that point itís personal preference.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I love that sone sadly on my laptop it keeps lagging behind the playing and gets really pixelated so I can't see what is really going on. We need a pro, you know like your video a week things a few years ago, to show us how it really works. Seriously though just hearing that vid helped.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    One exercise that really broke my confidence is to pick paradiddles without emphasis. DUUDUUDU DUUDUUDU The exercise is meant to break any automatic picking habits and put the conscious mind back in full responsible control of the process..
    I made a mistake. The paradiddle exercise is DUDD UDUU DUDD UDUU without emphasis on any particular pick. Then you move through emphasis on first note in each group of four, emphasis on second note in each group of four, etc. It broke my brain.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    In real life applications, I think mandolinners just fall into one or the other type of picking, based on how they began or someone said something to someone, and then stick with it, and then of course back fill all kinds justification to give the impression that it was a deliberate choice because its better.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    In real life applications, I think mandolinners just fall into one or the other type of picking, based on how they began or someone said something to someone, and then stick with it, and then of course back fill all kinds justification to give the impression that it was a deliberate choice because its better.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Thanks for all this guys, this is really interesting. A question - do ornaments in Irish music on mandolin tend to be 'all picked' more than in say triplets in bluegrass? The reason I ask is that if hammers and pulloffs are common in whatever kind of music you're playing, then it might be easier (at least in theory) to keep your groups of 3 notes all starting on a down pick. If every note in a decoration is picked, more difficult?

    Also - it used to be that classically trained violinists tended to be 'downbow heavy', so many had a Pavlovian trained reaction to try to play a down bow whenever a strong emphasis was indicated. I did this at the age of 20 for those reasons, whatever kind of music I played. A lot later I started to swing and syncopate tunes more , and I found situations where up bow accents were unavoidable. About that time I got into listening to and watching viol music, and I saw violists using up bows for the stronger accents. Then I met people who could disconnect their left and right hands and accent whatever direction bow they wanted. Seems to me there's a direct parallel here with mandolin picking - if you learn to accent either direction stroke whenever you want, you don't have to worry about this issue. So, I find my up and down mandolin strokes can be equal volume or accents - but I suspect the sound I make on each is currently different. That's another topic...
    For Irish ornaments see Irish Mandolin by Doc Rossi

    I've seen the same with classically trained violinists but they were all beginners. The more advanced people could accent either way. (Their teachers 'beat it out of them' Ha, ha!) It really comes down to 'shaping the notes and spaces in between'. It is not possible to do that as a beginner so a 'system' is used until they are able.
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  12. #34

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Pick control is a laudable quest. I'll give UDUUDU a try, see if I can get the same groove going.

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    The accent (i.e., strength of beats) comes down to a matter of right-hand technique. A strong beat can occur on a down-pick or on an up-pick. It is simply not true that DUD-DUD-DUD picking is, in some way, necessary to achieve "the proper" accent for Irish jigs. Not so! These pieces can be played perfectly well on the mandolin with alternate, DUD-UDU-DUD picking. And there are plenty of examples to demonstrate that.

    Furthermore, when fiddlers play Irish jigs, they do not tend to use DUD-DUD bowing. Instead, they fiddlers use DUDUDU bowing, and also other bowing patterns (many including slurs), depending on the ornamentation, tempo, etc. In short, Irish fiddlers manage to achieve "the proper" accents on jigs without having to place all the strong beats on a down-bow. In fact, on the mandolin, DUD-DUD picking tends to be a bit slower than DUDUDU alternation (at least for most pickers), and it is therefore not necessarily the optimal pattern to use for jigs with fast tempos.

    It would seem that DUD-DUD picking is a matter of convention, passed down from some players, and little more. Yes, you can also play jigs with alternate DUDUDU picking with the proper feel, without fear of somehow being "inauthentic."

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  16. #36

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    These pieces can be played perfectly well on the mandolin with alternate, DUD-UDU-DUD picking. And there are plenty of examples to demonstrate that.
    Yes please.

  17. #37
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I get what sounds right to me, the right lilt, with duddud, but some phrases seem to want the smoother feel, and dududu works great. But taking Marla Fibish Irish on peghead nation and you can not argue against her feel and ornamentation. She demands strict duddud.

    If you study classical at all you will want to change pick direction per the notation.

    Back when I first started mandolin, I had been learning on my own for a while, then started lessons with a swing violinist/mandolin player. He pointed out that although I played scales, exercises and fiddle tunes with conventional du, whenever I tried to play a swing piece I was unconsciously playing upstrokes on the downbeats. I even argued with him about it, but it was true.

    It's a lot more natural to accent a downbeat than an upbeat. A fiddler is articulating parallel to gravity, not in opposition to it. 36 feet/sec/sec is not trifling.

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Thanks for all this guys, this is really interesting. A question - do ornaments in Irish music on mandolin tend to be 'all picked' more than in say triplets in bluegrass? The reason I ask is that if hammers and pulloffs are common in whatever kind of music you're playing, then it might be easier (at least in theory) to keep your groups of 3 notes all starting on a down pick. If every note in a decoration is picked, more difficult?
    There is a complication in that question.

    Are you playing for yourself at home? Or recording for a commercial release? Or playing in a band with amplification on your mandolin?

    In that case, go for hammer-on and pull-off articulations in addition to the distinctive fast "treble" ornament often heard in Irish music played on plucked fretted instruments like tenor banjo or guitar.

    If you're playing in an informal Irish session in a bar or restaurant along with other players on the usual instruments like fiddle, box, flutes, whistle, maybe pipes... you'll probably only use the "treble" fast triplet. Because nobody including you will hear anything else, the mandolin being one of the quietest instruments in that context. In a typical pub session, you just won't hear the more subtle hammer-ons and pull-offs. A picked treble (fast triplet) can still be heard.

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Inauthentic? Someone "demands" DUDDUD ?

    I'm sorry to break the news but music is not that simple. There is no 'one size fits all' for picking jigs. There is a general process that works for a lot of jigs. Yes, that is because a lot of jigs are similar. There are many situations however where 'things fall apart'. Other methods are needed. And if one is to be a good musician, then he/she had better have some other 'tricks' in order to face the challenges.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    Inauthentic? Someone "demands" DUDDUD ?

    I'm sorry to break the news but music is not that simple. There is no 'one size fits all' for picking jigs. There is a general process that works for a lot of jigs. Yes, that is because a lot of jigs are similar. There are many situations however where 'things fall apart'. Other methods are needed. And if one is to be a good musician, then he/she had better have some other 'tricks' in order to face the challenges.
    She demands it of her students. Nothing wrong with that. When you hire a teacher you are hopefully a fan of her playing, and are paying for her knowledge, her method. Later, no longer her student, I'm sure you could play whatever you prefer or the music requires and the sky would not fall. She helped with something else I had a hard time with: keeping my right hand in constant 8th note motion, even when playing a quarter note or resting, etc...it was a problem I didn't know I had, but definitely helps to keep things smooth.

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Furthermore, when fiddlers play Irish jigs, they do not tend to use DUD-DUD bowing...
    Indeed - that's so awkward on fiddle that I can't think why you'd ever do that other than as a bowing exercise, and then you'd want to find a practical use for it. Sometimes, though. a fiddler will play the middle DD with a slur, so the pair of triplets sound something like 'Da Da Da-a Da da'. Likewise at the end of a bar, fiddle will often slur into the first note of the next bar.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    To add to what lowtone2 has said, Marla emphasises this with her students, acknowledging that it's an effective way for them to get the desired emphasis when jig picking, and like most other instructors I've had, she also has referred to the fact that once you have internalised what a jig sounds like, then the picking pattern you use becomes less important. Bear in mind that she, and other instructors I've had, are likely not promoting this for no reason, or for the sake of "authenticity" or rigidity - it is probably down to years of experience teaching folks and noticing that the use of one picking pattern vs. another may (note the use of "may" here, no absolutes) better facilitate novice players (particularly novices who are new to traditional music, haven't grown up hearing jigs, reels etc.) getting the right feel in their jigs from the get go. If someone personally feels strongly against playing jigs using DUDDUD well then more power to your elbow, do what ye want, but folks using or advocating for DUDDUD aren't doing anyone any harm.

    Finally, Marla is far from a rigid instructor adhering to orthodoxy - I remember slightly having my mind blown when she was teaching triplets/trebles UDU as well as DUD - For years prior I'd been taught that triplets/trebles always should start on a down stroke and Marla explaining and demonstrating why it's also beneficial to be able to play them starting on an upstroke was new information for me.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Yes, There is nothing wrong with adhering to a strict method with students.


    For me at least, I think the two downs in a row in DUD-DUD tends to create a 'speed limit'.
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  28. #44
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Like most things mechanical in music, DUDDUD picking is simply a matter of practice in order to internalize - if you desire to use the technique.

    In my own playing, I'm a big advocate of alternating DUDUDU with the pulse of the music as a general rule. For jigs, I mostly use DUDDUDDUD, not because I was taught it in the beginning (having started on guitar some 55 years ago), but rather because I desired to add the technique to my toolbox five or so years ago. Like anything else, it can be learned if you want to have it as a viable option, and internalized so that it seems perfectly natural to do it.

    When playing an old blues that has many triplets, I sometimes use a DUDDUD pattern and other times a DUDU pattern on the tri-ple-ty, tri-ple-ty parts, depending mostly on how I feel at that passage. So the technique once internalized can be useful for other than jigs.

    For the odd triplet occurring randomly in a melody, I tend to use hammer-ons and pull-offs when possible.

    All this to say, learn both ways, if you want access to both, and it probably wont hurt your playing. If it does, stop.
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  30. #45

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Here's some jiggy DUDDUD Bach

  31. #46
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    Here's some jiggy DUDDUD Bach
    I was wondering when we would 'go from' Irish jigs to good old J.S. Bach. Ha, ha

    The Cello Suite #6 Prelude is a great example of different picking effects. The first two bars are kind of punchy, with DUDDUD and then in bar 3 it 'smooths out' and is much more even sounding with the DUDUDU.


    The duration of notes, being all even with the same space in between, eliminates the concern for the Irish jig 'swing' or 'lilt', or what ever you call the uneven timing of Irish jig playing. There are some musicians that do mess around with Bach's jig timing, but my point is that the Irish jig may present some different challenges in using the pick direction.
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  32. #47

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    I'm playing the first two bars (and every time that open-string rhythm happens) DDUDDU ó the rest is DUDDUD.

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  34. #48

    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    DUDDUD ... that’s the ticket for jigs. Ditto for gigues. DUDDUDDUD for slip jigs. Play the accent on the downbeat — ONE 2 3 FOUR 5 6 etc. This is dance music. Work in the triplets and ornaments likewise. There are exceptions, of course, but when in doubt, DUD it out.

    It’s pretty easy to get used to, once you get the hang of it.

    And if you have a broken rhythm (not straight eighth notes) you make the rhythms fit the DUD pattern as if you we’re playing straight eighths. So in 6/8, a dotted quarter note (3 eights) and a quarter (2 beats) and an eighth (1 beat) in a measure would be D..D.D.
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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    There are some musicians that do mess around with Bach's jig timing...
    F'rinstance Jacques Loussier (RIP)?

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    Default Re: Pig Jicking?

    With two strings, I'm an advocate of DDU DDU where the 'up' is literally up and over the lower string, to do a 'retake' on the first note.
    Does this make sense? DD = D string then A string, the U = the A string and the motion misses the lower string to do a 'retake' on the D.

    On the same string it is DUDUDU like clockwork. Anything else is a variation for effect. (Most of this method came from my lessons with Adam Granger in flat picking guitar.)

    A straight melody can work fine on a regular pattern. (DUDDUD works great).

    However polyphonic music, as in J.S. Bach gigues where making a tune sound like more than one instrument, requires accents and variation in bowing/picking patterns.
    (Recent advice from my violin teacher.)
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